Detroit Casinos Non-Committal On Operations In Event Of Workers Strike

Written By Drew Ellis on October 13, 2023 - Last Updated on October 24, 2023

The Detroit casino workers are committed to striking if a new contract isn’t reached by Monday night.

On Thursday, the Detroit Casino Council, which represents the workers, stated that they are still far apart on negotiations with the three Detroit casinos.

So, what does this mean for MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown? What does a strike look like for them?


Strike authorized to begin Monday night

The contract with the Detroit casino workers is set to expire on Monday, Oct. 16 at 11:59 p.m.

At that point, the casino union workers have authorized the DCC to call a strike.

Thursday afternoon, Unite Here Local 24 President Nia Winston indicated that the negotiations were still too far apart. This, all while union workers began prepping for a strike.

In response to Winston’s comments, MGM Resorts International spokesperson Dara Cohen issues the following statement:

“We continue to negotiate with the DCC on a new contract that demonstrates our commitment to our employees here in Detroit. We believe that all parties are dedicated to reaching an agreement that works for everyone.”

Jeff Morris, Vice President of Public Affairs for PENN Entertainment, offered similar thoughts when reached.

“Hollywood Casino at Greektown has had a productive and respectful relationship with the Detroit Casino Counsel for many years. We are committed to continue working constructively to develop a mutually beneficial agreement that positively positions our Team Members and business for success well into the future.”

Detroit casinos non-committal on plans

Currently the Detroit casinos are only willing to comment on the negotiation efforts.

PlayMichigan has sought answers as to plans for the casinos if the workers elect to strike. However, none of the three have elected to comment on their status if a strike occurs.

There is currently no indication that the casinos would be forced to completely close their doors if a strike happens.

In 2023, the three Detroit casinos have made $853.7 million in revenue through slots and table games over the first eight months of the year. That equates to $3.5 million per day in 2023.

Broken down by casino, here’s what they are averaging in gaming revenue per day:

With that kind of daily revenue, it’s hard to imagine the casinos won’t be doing what they can to maintain whatever level of operation they can in the event of a strike.

Casino workers required to be licensed by MGCB

Staying in operation in a strike isn’t just as simple as finding replacement workers for the casinos.

The Detroit Casino Council states that a total of 3,700 union members work for one of the three Detroit casinos.

Five unions have combined to be represented by the DCC in these negotiations. They are:

  • UNITE HERE Local 24
  • UAW
  • Teamsters Local 1038
  • Operating Engineers Local 324
  • Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters

These union members work in food and beverage, housekeeping, retail outlets, slots and table games, engineering and more.

While it’s unclear just what percentage of the overall staff the union workers represent, it is significant.

Michigan law requires many casino employees and employees of companies that supply goods and services to casinos to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Those hired need to complete an occupational license application for submission to the MGCB. The board then conducts a background investigation of each applicant to determine whether the license will be issued. Those investigations can take several weeks depending on the license level.

There are three different levels of occupational licenses the MGCB issues.

  • Level 1: These go to casino managers and supervisors. They oversee operations of the casino staff.
  • Level 2: These are for casino staff members like accountants, table game workers, cashiers, security guards, technicians and more.
  • Level 3: These are for housekeepers, non-gaming maintenance staff, bartending and waiter/waitress staff on the casino floors.

Some jobs at casinos don’t require a license. However, those positions are for employees not working in direct connection with any of the gaming taking place. That includes restaurant wait staff, cooks, hotel maintenance staff and more.

PlayMichigan will keep you updated on this situation as developments continue to occur.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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